Worthing FC boss proud of players and fans after cup final loss to clinical Brighton U23s

Adam Hinshelwood held his hands up and admitted Worthing FC were beaten by a young Brighton side who were simply too clinical in front of goal for them. But he said he was proud of his players for their efforts in the final and the whole season.

And Hinshelwood also paid tribute to the club's 'first-class' fans, who were at the Amex showpiece in great numbers making plenty of noise and who the boss said had been brilliant all season.

Ollie Pearce, from the spot, and Joel Colbran, flicking in a nice finish from a corner, scored the first and last goals of the final in front of 3,087 fans but Brighton netted four times in between, Lorent Tolaj (2), Andy Moran and Cam Peupion on target.

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Reece Meekums is down and Worthing have a penalty / Picture: Martin Denyer

Afterwards Hinshelwood said it had been a nice occasion for his players to be part of and they - and him and his coaching staff - had learned plenty from taking on full-time players which would stand them in good stead for their move up to the National League South next season following their Isthmian premier title win this season.

See Hinshelwood's whole press conference in the video player above

Hinshelwood said: "We gave a good account of ourselves and played how we like to play. Ultimately they showed how clinical they were on the night. We had a similar amount of chances but they put them away. We had other chances in the first half and blazed them over.

"The players effort and commitment was good. I got it a little bit wrong at half-time and went a bit early with a change of formation. Some of the players didn't quite know what I wanted from them.

The Worthing fans were at the Amex in huge numbers / Picture: Cory Pickford

47 pictures from the Sussex Senior Cup final."The last thing I wanted to do was turn up and change what we do. I wanted to continue how we play and that's on the front foot. I thought the players left everything out there and you can't ask any more."

Hinshelwood said he always asked the players to examine what they'd learned from a defeat - and he would do the same.

He said changing the formation mid-game was something they had often done this season but on this occasion it hadn't worked. "Although we've been sharp this season I think tonight has shown we can still be sharper," he added.

He said the focus now was on making the step up to the National South and he said a 'good proportion' of the current squad were set to be part of that.

"Although we scored 100 goals this season tonight showed we won't get as many chances and we've got to be ruthless. There will be one or two who might go on to bigger and better things but fortunately I hope the spine will be with us. We want to bring in more quality to help them. We've got to get better and hopefully a game like this will help."

Hinshelwood said he was impressed by Brighton's intensity and sharpness of passing. "They showed their quality and showed why they're at a Premier League club. But that's what a lot of players want to aspire to. We don't want to pat ourselves on the back just for being competitive against those teams."

Tolaj's two finishes impressed all watching and Hinshelwood said that was an example of what players could do when they were training full-time.

There was a nice moment for the Worthing boss when his son Jack came on for Brighton U23s. "It was nice for him to get minutes. He'd done well in the previous round. If he hadn't got on it would have been a depressed household."

Hinshelwood had special praise for the Worthing fans, who outnumbered the Brighton supporters and made significantly more noise, staying behind their team even when the goals were going in against them.

"Honestly, they've been like it all season. I can't hanks them enough for coming out. I'm glad we got to give them a glimmer of expectation we could win the game by going a goal ahead and giving them something to cheer because they were first-class and have been all season," he said.

They come in good numbers and really support us and get behind the team. I can't thank them enough for tonight and all season for their constant support of myself and the side."